Class 56

56001 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 28 September 1985

56001 emerges from the fog at the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 28 September 1985 with a train of MGR empties returning to South Wales from Didcot Power Station. Generally by this date most coal for Didcot came from the Midlands, but there was still the odd working from Wales. Just a few years earlier most of the power station's coal came via this route. I have used a shorter lens here than I would normally use at this location, to lessen the impact of the fog. It was just starting to clear and the sun was almost coming out.

56001 Langley 6 November 1986

56001 passes Langley on 6 November 1986 with the 6V17 10:00 Allington to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. Unusually and unfortunately with regard to the encroaching shadows it is running on the down fast line. The first Romanian built 56 had not yet received its Whatley name at this time, but had already lost its original round buffers.

56001 Baulking 10 December 1986

With a cloudy sky to the west, 56001 heads out into the sunshine at Baulking on 10 December 1986 with the 6M24 08:05 Stoke Gifford to Wolverton ARC stone train. On this occasion the train only contains two of the usual ARC PGA hoppers, the rest of the train being made up of Redland, Tilbury Roadstone and Tarmac wagons. A bit of a difficult decision here, as it was either a case of including lots of out of focus grass or acres of sky. The latter seemed the better option, hence the unusual composition.

56001 Cholsey 4 September 1987

56001 passes through the deep chalk cutting just to the east of Cholsey station on 4 September 1987. It is working the 6A18 05:00 Robeston to Theale Murco oil tanks. An excellent picture, but it would have been even better if it had been running along the relief line, as booked!

56001 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 14 July 1989

56001 Whatley passes the site of Ashbury Crossing, Shrivenham on 14 July 1989 with the 6V84 14:00 Allington to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. This location has become a well known photographic vantage point in recent years, although less often used for an evening picture from the north side of the line, as here. However, in the 1980s I hardly ever met another photographer!

56001 Milton 8 December 1992

56001 Whatley passes Milton on 8 December 1992 with the 6C13 11:22 Calvert to Bath Avon Binliner, after having dumped another train load of Bristol and Bath's rubbish in a hole in the ground in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Milton Park trading estate is on the left, while on the right the Milton Heights to Didcot road can be seen running parallel with the railway.

56002 West Drayton 6 November 1986

56002 passes West Drayton on 6 November 1986 with the 6M53 10:11 Thorney Mill to Bardon Hill stone empties. This train, with its green liveried Bardon bogie hoppers, was easily distinguished from the other stone trains in the West London area at the time, which were operated by Foster Yeoman or ARC. These were often still composed of four wheel PGA hoppers. 56002 is only a mile into its journey, the Thorney Mill terminal being situated on the nearby former Staines West branch. This is at 90 degrees to the main line, and the train has had to negotiate a sharp curve into West Drayton station, after first passing underneath the Great Western Mainline, just past where the 08 shunter can be seen in the background.

56003 Stenson Junction 16 October 1986

56003 passes Stenson Junction on 16 October 1986 with the 7V46 10:12 Toton Old Bank to Didcot Power Station MGR, running over an hour early. Three decades later the loco is still going strong (as 56312), but coal traffic has decreased dramatically, and what is left is no longer transported in four wheel wagons.

56003 Loughborough 6 September 1992

56003 approaches Loughborough on 6 September 1992 with the Pathfinder Tours 1T06 10:45 Derby to Leicester 'Leicester Looper' railtour, one of a series of mini tours run in connection with the Leicester Open Day. All the buildings in this view have been replaced by much more uniform and drab industrial units.

56003 Levington 25 July 1996

With a wave from the driver, 56003 rounds the curve at Levington with the 4M87 16:04 Felixstowe North to Trafford Park freightliner on 25 July 1996. At this time Freightliner had a pool of four hired in Class 56s from Loadhaul to work the freightliner trains on the Felixstowe branch, handing over to electric traction at Ipswich. The single track branch could be a little restrictive at times and there was constant talk of doubling the line. 56003 has since been preserved, and retains its Loadhaul livery.

56003 & 73129 Hailes 24 September 2005

What a combination! Loadhaul liveried 56003 and Network SouthEast liveried 73129 head the 10:20 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service past Hailes, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala on 24 September 2005. With 3,300hp available, 56003 could handle a train of twice this length and still have power to spare, but as it is air brake only and the stock is vacuum braked, the Class 73 is acting purely as a brake translator.

56003 & 73129 Hailes 24 September 2005

56003 & 73129 approach Hailes on 24 September 2005 with the 11:10 Cheltenham Racecourse to Toddington service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala. The Loadhaul liveried Class 56 was most definitely the highlight of the gala weekend!

56003 & 37324 Hailes 24 September 2005

Newly preserved, and still wearing untouched shabby Loadhaul livery, 56003 (now back on the national network as 56312) & 37324 Clydebridge pass Hailes on 24 September 2005 with the 13:50 Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala.

56003 & 37324 Didbrook 24 September 2005

56003 & 37324 Clydebridge catch a little weak sunlight as they pass Didbrook with the 14:40 Cheltenham Racecourse to Toddington service, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Diesel Gala on 24 September 2005. By the late afternoon clouds had started to roll in from the south signaling an end to the day's photography, after a gloriously sunny day. Salter's Hill can be seen dominating the background.

56006 Staveley 1 September 1991

Doing the job that it was specifically designed for, 56006 passes Staveley on 1 September 1991 with a loaded MGR. This loco is one of the few of the class to have entered preservation, mainly because they continue to be so useful to mainline operators.

56006 Spondon 18 August 1992

56006 passes Spondon on 18 August 1992 with the 7T64 09:43 Denby Colliery to Toton MGR. Even without knowing where this train had come from, the inclusion of the brake van in the consist was immediate proof of the train's origin. Denby Colliery closed in 1999 and the track on the short branch from Little Eaton Junction has now been lifted.

56006 Nether Poppleton 1 July 1995

56006 Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station passes Nether Poppleton on 1 July 1995 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z37 07:40 Kings Cross to Harrogate (via Newcastle) 'Cattal Grid' railtour. This was the 'Grid' part of the tour, the 'Cattal' part would come when 37517 & 37059 took the train through Cattal station, en-route to Harrogate.

56006 Milford Junction 27 April 1996

56006 Ferrybridge C Power Station passes underneath the A63 road bridge at Monk Fryston, as it approaches Milford Junction on 27 April 1996 with yet another rake of empty HAA hoppers. MGR coal traffic was still really important at the time, and this location was well known for its constant procession of coal trains. All history now!

56006 Melton Ross 18 July 1996

During the summer of 1996, a short term contract saw trains of large diameter steel pipes conveyed from the North East to Immingham, for a new gas pipeline. 56006 Ferrybridge C Power Station passes Melton Ross on 18 July 1996 with the 6G40 10:00 Hartlepool to Immingham.

56006 Levington 20 September 1997

56006 Ferrybridge C Power Station passes Levington on 20 September 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z65 06:25 Crewe to Felixstowe 'Marching Cat' railtour. 56006 only worked the relatively short section between Ipswich and Felixstowe. Other locos involved during the day were: 86608, 58018, 56062, 47212, 60085 & 37678.

56006 Burrs 12 September 1999

After a generally dull day, the sun finally came out at Burrs on 12 September 1999, just in time for the late running 16:20 Bury to Rawtenstall service, during the East Lancashire Railway's now legendary 'EWS Classic Traction' event. This was very fortunate, as the train was worked by immaculate Romanian Grid 56006.

56006 & 37906 Kidderminster 30 September 2000

56006 & 37906 leave Kidderminster station on 30 September 2000 with the 09:00 departure for Bewdley, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. At Bewdley the 56 would be removed, leaving 37906 to work the train forward as the 09:17 Bewdley to Bridgnorth. 56006 had been repainted into its original livery of BR blue the previous year.

56006 & D1013 Bewdley 30 September 2000

The unlikely combination of 56006 & D1013 Western Ranger make a very smoky departure from Bewdley on 30 September 2000 with the 10:41 Bewdley to Kidderminster service, during the Severn Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. 56006 had been added at Bewdley, after Western Ranger arrived with the 09:35 departure from Bridgnorth.

56006 Hungerford 9 June 2002

56006 passes through Hungerford station in the rain on 9 June 2002 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z56 10:03 Paddington to Yeovil Junction 'Desert Mule' railtour. Nowadays with the luxury of a ten frames per second camera there would be no excuse for not positioning the loco between the lamp posts, but at the time, with just once chance to get it right, I clearly messed it up here! Locos usually have the full TOPS number on the front today, but it's a bit more minimalist here. Note the very small number 6 just above the horn grille.

56007 Wolvercote 10 July 1987

56007 passes Wolvercote on 10 July 1987 with the 7V85 13:58 Toton New Bank to Didcot Power Station MGR. When trains started running again after the miner's strike in 1985, most of the coal trains from the Midlands to Didcot were Class 58 hauled, although 56s still put in appearances on some services.

56007 Wolvercote Junction 20 June 1991

Class 56s were certainly less common on coal trains in the Oxford area after the 1984/5 miner's strike, with the majority of MGR workings to Didcot Power Station then being in the hands of the newer Class 58s. However, they did still appear, as on 20 June 1991, when 56007 worked the 6E81 18:55 Didcot Power Station to Worksop, seen here passing underneath the Oxford by-pass, on the approach to Wolvercote Junction.

56007 Oxcroft Junction 1 September 1991

56007 has just passed Oxcroft Junction on 1 September 1991, as it runs along the freight only line from Staveley with the 2G91 10:20 Worksop to Elmton & Creswell Worksop Depot Open Day Special. 58040 Cottam Power Station is on the rear of the train. Oxcroft Junction can be seen in the background, with the steeply graded line to Oxcroft Coal Disposal Point peeling away to the left. This passes underneath the M1 motorway a short distance further on. I passed over the line many hundreds of times whilst driving up and down the M1, and saw numerous trains in the former colliery site, but unfortunately never ventured off the motorway to get a picture. Too late now, as the line closed in 2007.

56007 Whitwell 1 September 1991

56007 brings up the rear of the 2G81 11:20 Chesterfield to Worksop special at Whitwell on 1 September 1991. 58040 Cottam Power Station is at the front of the train. This was one of a number of special trains run in connection with the Worksop Open Day.

56007 Chester 17 August 1996

56007 passes through Chester on 17 August 1996 with the early running 6F45 17:28 Dee Marsh to Warrington Arpley Enterprise service, comprised entirely of empty OTA timber wagons from Shotton Paper Mill. Whenever I saw this train, or its loaded outward run, it was well off from its booked time. In this case over two hours early, and a couple of months previously, four hours late!

56007 Cargo Fleet 22 September 1997

Romanian built 56007 passes Cargo Fleet with a train of imported coal from Redcar on 22 September 1997. Note the replacement rectangular buffers.  This loco was subsequently exported to France to work on the construction of the LGV Est européenne high speed line. There are a surprising number of good photographic locations along the Middlesbrough to Redcar line, all with heavy industrial buildings in view, as here.

56008 South Moreton (Didcot East) 29 January 1992

56008 passes South Moreton (near Didcot) with the diverted 6M28 10:15 Westbury Cement Works to Toton coal empties on 29 January 1992. This seems to be the only picture I have got of this particular Romanian built 'Grid', it being withdrawn a few months after this picture was taken to provide spares for its classmates, thus becoming one of the earliest Class 56s to be withdrawn. The large area of bramble bushes behind the loco marks the site of Moreton Sidings, one of a number of marshalling yards constructed in the area during the Second World War.

56009 Moira West Junction 23 October 1989

56009 passes Moira West Junction on 23 October 1989, while classmate 56022 heads in the opposite direction with MGR empties. The loco is just passing the spot where the former line to Nuneaton diverged to the right. 

56009 & 56028 Rhyl 11 August 1991

56009 & 56028 West Burton Power Station pull away from Rhyl station on 11 August 1991 with the 1T56 10:35 Crewe to Llandudno special, one of series of trains hauled by freight traction during the Trainload Coal Motive Power Day. Rhyl No.2 signal box had closed the previous year, but survives to this day thanks to its status as a listed building.

56010 Wendlebury 27 November 1993

With a haze of blue smoke from the exhaust, and worryingly from the rear bogie, 56010 passes Wendlebury on the Bicester to Oxford line with the 6M43 14:08 Bicester Army Depot to Lawley Street coal empties on 27 November 1993. This was a regular Saturday diagram during the winter months bringing a variety of traction to the line. Unfortunately the timing of the train meant that the loaded train was severely backlit when going up to Bicester and then usually when I was around either the sun disappeared (as here) or else the loco came back light engine!

56010 Burton Salmon 18 October 1997

56010 rounds the curve at Burton Salmon on 18 October 1997 with a Millerhill to Drax Power Station MGR coal train. Both the loco and wagons are no more, but I expect the location is still popular with photographers who like Class 66s!

56011 Milford Junction 25 October 1995

56011 passes Milford Junction on 25 October 1995 with yet another load of coal from Gascoigne Wood, destined for one of the Aire valley power stations. At the time this was considered a very boring photographic location, with no variety in the constant procession of MGRs. However, I'm glad I visited it a few times, as the whole scene is now totally historic.

56011 Drax Power Station 17 February 1996

56011 arrives at Drax Power Station on 17 February 1996 with yet another loaded MGR, in the days when most of the UK's electricity was generated by burning coal. The track in the foreground appears to be mostly ballasted with coal! The greenhouses in the background have now been removed, and the area turned into Drax Golf Course.

56011 Healey Mills 25 September 2000

56011 arrives at Healey Mills on a very gloomy 25 September 2000 with the 6G97 09:20 Rylstone to Dewsbury stone train. An easy train to recognise, by virtue of its distinctive MBA box wagons. 56011 only had a few more months left in traffic when this picture was taken. Like a large number of its classmates, it was cut up at C.F. Booth's yard at Rotherham.

56012 Foxhall Junction 31 July 1986

56012 leaves Didcot Power Station and prepares to join the mainline at Foxhall Junction on 31 July 1986, as it works the 6E41 15:45 Didcot Power Station to Barrow Hill MGR empties. Like a number of the Romanian built 56s, this loco did little work during its first year with BR, as various mechanical faults due to poor workmanship were sorted out.

56012 Oxford 17 January 1987

Sub-zero conditions at Oxford on 17 January 1987. 56012 passes through the station with the 7V09 08:41 Markham Colliery to Didcot Power Station MGR. Not a very good quality image, but full of historic interest. Didcot Power Station is no more, coal traffic is also virtually non-existent, and the snow covered yard on the right is now a car park.

56012, 312789 & 312790 Milton Fen14 September 1991

56012 Maltby Colliery passes Milton Fen on 14 September 1991 with the 2G30 09:30 King's Lynn to Cambridge special, one of a number special trains worked by freight motive power during the Network South East Network Gala Day. Just as interesting as the Class 56 haulage is the use of EMUs 312789 & 312790 as coaching stock!

56014 Froxfield 20 June 1984

Reflected Grid! 56014 runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal at Froxfield on 20 June 1984 with the 6B29 08:10 Theale to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. The canal was still not open to through navigation at this time. 56014 was seven years old when this photo was taken, but had spent nearly two years out of traffic following a collision at Worksop in September 1980.

56014 Oxford North Junction 2 May 1990

56014 waits at the signal at the southern end of the up relief line at Oxford North Junction on 2 May 1990, whilst it was working the 7V85 14:40 Toton to Didcot Power Station MGR. This was obviously running early, as it was booked to pass through Oxford non stop. This location was only available for a short while, after a massive amount of vegetation clearance opened up views between the mainline and the course of the former down relief line (on the left).

56015 Foxhall Junction 12 March 1991

56015 nears journey's end on 12 March 1991, as it passes Foxhall Junction with the 7V44 09:25 Three Spires Junction to Didcot Power Station MGR. A Romanian Grid on a loaded coal train seemed very ordinary at the time. In 1991 I might have expected the 56s to be thin on the ground a quarter of century later, but I wouldn't have guessed that coal trains would as well!

56017 Finedon 21 May 1989

56017 passes Finedon on 21 May 1989 with the 1T09 09:55 Leicester to St Pancras special. This was one a series of special trains organised by Hertfordshire Railtours, and branded as the InterCity Diesel Day. They obviously made no attempt to select a clean loco!

56017 Glendon 21 May 1989

56017 takes the Corby line at Glendon on 21 May 1989 with the 1T12 12:40 St Pancras to Leicester special, during the InterCity Diesel Day. The former down line on the Corby route is clearly disused here, and the track was later lifted. Happily however the track was reinstated in 2016.

56018 Wolvercote Junction 29 August 1991

56018 approaches Wolvercote Junction on 29 August 1991 with the 6M58 17:25 Didcot Power Station to Toton MGR empties. A nice clean Railfreight Coal liveried Romanian 56 on HAAs may have been commonplace in 1991, but it certainly looks impressive now. Its a pity I only have a 35mm slide version of this. Presumably my Pentax 6x7 was loaded with Fujichrome 100, which was a bit limiting for telephoto shots in evening light.

56018 Rumney 8 November 1996

56018 passes Rumney on 8 November 1996 with the early running 6B51 10:25 Margam to Llanwern MGR. The autumn sunshine was very localised, with Cardiff in the background clearly under a dark cloud. During the 1980s and 90s I paid many visits to the mainline between Cardiff and Newport, but this was the only time that I visited this particular location.

56018 Burton Salmon 15 August 1998

The EWS livery of 56018 almost matches the crimson and cream of the Mk1 coaching stock, making a fine uniform appearance, as the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 16:30 Newcastle to Cardiff Central 'North East Excursioner' railtour passes Burton Salmon on the evening of 15 August 1998.

56018 Hensall 20 March 2000

56018 crosses the A645 Eggborough to Snaith road at Hensall on 20 March 2000 with yet another loaded MGR train for Drax Power Station. By this date Class 66s were already making inroads into the steady stream of coal trains to Drax, so this was a pleasant surprise.

56018 & 170501 Whitacre Junction 23 September 2000

Having just run round its Daw Mill to Toton MGR coal train at Whitacre Junction on 23 September 2000, 56018 waits for the road as 170501 speeds past with the 07:30 Liverpool Lime Street to Stansted Airport Central Trains service.

56018 Up Hatherley 21 May 2001

56018 passes Up Hatherley on a very dull 21 May 2001 with the 6V14 07:30 Hull Saltend to Baglan Bay acetic acid tanks, just a few weeks before the service was discontinued. I remember being disappointed at the time that it wasn't 37 hauled. However, towards the end the well known 'vinegar tanks' did occasionally have other motive power, and this is definitely better than a 'Shed'!

56018 Loughborough 21 September 2002

56018 passes Loughborough on 21 September 2002 with the 6E97 15:50 Corby to Aldwarke scrap. Interesting enough, but something much more noteworthy was following just ten minutes behind, 50049 Defiance & 50031 Hood with the 5Z55 13:33 Old Oak Common to York ECS.

56018 & 56032 Ardley 18 May 2003

56018 & 56032 pass Ardley on 18 May 2003 with the late running Pathfinder Tours 1Z71 08:45 Crewe to Clacton 'Clacton Avoider' railtour. I don't really think the EWS livery suited the Class 56, and they certainly don't look at their best in this gloomy light, and when they are in such a filthy condition.

56019 Wolvercote 8 September 1982

Plenty has changed since this view was taken at Wolvercote in 1982. Rail blue Class 56s on HAA wagons are a thing of the past and until recently this panoramic view of Port Meadow was blocked out by lineside vegetation. Happily, although the view is now nearly back to normal, the era of 56s on coal trains is long gone! 56019 heads north on 8 September 1982 with an empty MGR train returning to the Midlands from Didcot Power Station. Oddly, it was following five minutes behind a similar train hauled by classmate 56017.

56019 Water Orton 17 March 1989

56019 passes through Water Orton station on 17 March 1989 with a westbound MGR. Although the impressive station building survives, the lengthy canopy has now been swept away, leaving passengers to shelter from the elements in a crude 'bus' type shelter.

56019 Culham 20 June 1998

1998 witnessed many unusual locos working Virgin Cross Country services at the time when the company was desperately short of motive power. One of the most outrageous occurred on 20 June when 56019 worked down to Bournemouth in lieu of the normal Class 47. The sole surviving red-stripe Railfreight liveried Class 56 catches the very last rays of the setting sun as it approaches Culham returning north with the 1M81 18:14 Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly, which it worked as far as Birmingham New Street. 

56021 Wolvercote 4 May 1989

56021 passes Wolvercote on 4 May 1989 with the 6E05 17:39 Didcot Power Station to Barrow Hill MGR empties. Long before the advent of palisade fencing and the growth of lineside vegetation, a convenient footpath crossing on the edge of Port Meadow made an excellent (if somewhat anonymous) location for photographing northbound trains in the evening. However, nowadays the loco has gone, the traffic has gone and the location has gone!

56021 Cropredy 10 May 1989

56021 passes Cropredy on 10 May 1989 with the early running 6M55 16:55 Didcot Power Station to Three Spires Junction MGR empties, passing this location at approximately the time it should have been leaving Didcot!

56021 Didcot North Junction 20 May 1992

56021 passes a very rural looking Didcot North Junction on 20 May 1992 with the early running 6E81 18:55 Didcot Power Station to Worksop MGR empties. The field behind the train is now covered by a housing estate.

56021 Burton Salmon 12 March 1997

A ridiculously easy load for a Class 56! 56021 ambles past Burton Salmon on 12 March 1997 with the 6M13 08:37 Tees Yard to Etruria steel empties. Most people agree that the Loadhaul livery was the most inspired choice amongst the privatised freight companies, and looked good on every class of loco that it was applied to. 56021 was withdrawn whilst still wearing this colour scheme.

56022 Moira West Junction 23 October 1989

56022 passes Moira West Junction on 23 October 1989 with eastbound MGR empties. By pure chance, another one of the thirty strong fleet of Romanian built Class 56s was approaching light engine from the other direction. The remains of Swains Park Disposal Pont dominate the background, although the sidings on the left have been lifted, and the loader and associated conveyors that crossed the track had also recently been removed. Gresley Tunnel can be seen in the distance.

56022 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 7 April 1990

Running exactly to time, although unusually running on a Saturday, 56022 heads north through Oxford on 7 April 1990 with the 6E08 10:00 Didcot Power Station to Barrow Hill MGR empties. The almost rural background to this view has unfortunately now been replaced by an almost universally hated hideous student accommodation tenement block.

56022 & 56025 Water Eaton (Bambury Road) 18 August 1991

56022 & 56025 pass the ARC stone terminal at Oxford (Banbury Road) as they run parallel with the traffic on the A34 at Water Eaton on 18 August 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 06:28 Manchester Piccadilly to Paddington 'Strider' railtour. This tour was a means of getting people from the north of England to the Old Oak Common Open Day. Obviously it would not be possible to use a pair of Romanian built Grids on the mainline today, and neither would it be possible to repeat the route of this tour, which is here traversing the former LMS line from Bletchley to Oxford. Although the section as far as Calvert Junction remains open, further east the line has been closed for a number of years and in places is in a very overgrown state.

56022 & 56025 Blackbird Leys 18 August 1991

56022 & 56025 pass Blackbird Leys, en-route to Morris Cowley with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 06:28 Manchester Piccadilly to Paddington 'Strider' railtour on 18 August 1991. A very backlit picture, but included because of the highly unusual location for a passenger train. There was a much better picture to be had on the return from Morris Cowley.

56022 & 56025 Foxhall Junction 18 August 1991

56022 & 56025 come off Didcot's west curve at Foxhall Junction on 18 August 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 06:28 Manchester Piccadilly to Paddington 'Strider' railtour. They are about to enter Didcot Power Station, where they would slowly traverse the entire site, emerging via the flyash loop.

56022 & 56025 Didcot Power Station 18 August 1991

56022 & 56025 traverse the flyash loop at Didcot Power Station on 18 August 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 06:28 Manchester Piccadilly to Paddington 'Strider' railtour. This tour was a means of getting people from the north of England to the Old Oak Common Open Day. This viewpoint was later completely obliterated by a row of trees.

56022 & 56025 South Moreton (Didcot East) 18 August 1991

56022 & 56025 head towards the capital after visiting Didcot Power Station on 18 August 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 06:28 Manchester Piccadilly to Paddington 'Strider' railtour. The Romanian built pair are pictured passing South Moreton (Didcot East). The stock would later pass this way again, hauled by 56034.

56024 Welbeck Colliery Junction 27 June 1992

56024 passes Welbeck Colliery Junction on 27 June 1992 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z28 07:40 St Pancras to High Marnham 'Dukeries Collier' railtour. Unfortunately these semaphore signals have since been removed, and the line to Welbeck Colliery, which can be seen diverging to the right, closed when the colliery ceased production after nearly a century, in 2010.

56024 Thoresby Colliery 27 June 1992

56024 brings up the rear of the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z28 07:40 St Pancras to High Marnham 'Dukeries Collier' railtour, as it approaches Thorsby Colliery on 27 June 1992. This loco was put into store in May 1996, and then moved to Booth Roe, Rotherham, where it was broken up in August. However, it was not officially withdrawn until October!

56024 High Marnham 27 June 1992

56024 approaches High Marnham on 27 June 1992 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z28 07:40 St Pancras to High Marnham 'Dukeries Collier' railtour. After visiting the power station, the train would return, this time with 20168 & 20059 leading.

56024 Bevercotes Colliery 27 June 1992

I'm sure that health & safety wouldn't allow this nowadays! 56024 brings up the rear the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z28 12:43 High Marnham to St Pancras 'Dukeries Collier' railtour, as it passes underneath the loading bunker at Bevercotes Colliery on 27 June 1992.

56024 Meden Vale 27 June 1992

56024 approaches Meden Vale, on the now closed Welbeck Colliery branch, with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z28 12:43 High Marnham to St Pancras 'Dukeries Collier' railtour on 27 June 1992. This line lasted longer than most in the area, with the final train leaving the colliery for Drax Power Station in October 2010.

56025 Moira West Junction 23 October 1989

56025 brings a loaded MGR out of Rawdon Colliery on 23 October 1989. The train is just approaching Moira West Junction, on the Leicester to Burton upon Trent line. Rawdon Colliery closed less than two years after this picture was taken.

56025 & 56022 Blackbird Leys 18 August 1991

Part of the attraction of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 06:28 Manchester Piccadilly to Paddington 'Strider' railtour on 18 August 1991 was the traversal of the Morris Cowley branch, near Oxford. 56025 & 56022 are pictured passing Blackbird Leys in a lucky patch of sun returning from Morris Cowley. The Rover car plant, the source of traffic on the branch, can be seen in the background.

56025 Didcot Power Station 18 August 1991

A broadside view of a surprisingly clean 56025, as it leaves Didcot Power Station on 18 August 1991 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 06:28 Manchester Piccadilly to Paddington 'Strider' railtour. It was working in multiple with 56022, which can be seen disappearing underneath the bridge. The grassy bank behind the loco is now completley covered in trees , but in 1991 there was even a view of tree capped Cholsey Hill in the far distance.

56025 Swarkestone 4 September 1991

56025 heads west past Swarkestone on 4 September 1991 with a rake of MGR empties. Note the inclusion of a recently refurbished wagon in the middle of the train. Over the years 56025 turned out to be my most photographed Romanian built Class 56.

56025 Oxford 2 October 1991

56025 passes through Oxford station on 2 October 1991 with the 7V49 04:08 Barrow Hill to Didcot Power Station MGR. All of this has now gone. The loco has been cut up, the HAA wagons are now history, as is this viewpoint from the Osney Lane footbridge. A large car park now occupies the foreground, severely restricting photography from the modern replacement footbridge.

56025 Rossett 15 June 1996

Running four hours late, 56025 passes Rossett on 15 June 1996 with the 6F41 13:24 Warrington Arpley to Dee Marsh Enterprise. As can be seen by the wide area of ballast, there was formerly more than a single line here. The route was double track until the late 1980s, with loops in the foreground of this picture, making the transformation from four lines to just one quite spectacular.

56025 Hawarden 15 June 1996

56025 passes Hawarden on 15 June 1996 with the 6F41 13:24 Warrington Arpley to Dee Marsh Enterprise, running a staggering four hours late! The train is entirely comprised of timber from Scotland. 56025 was withdrawn in April 2002 and was cut up at Booths, Rotherham in March 2009.

56025 North Queensferry 4 April 1998

56025 emerges from North Queensferry Tunnel and passes through the adjacent station on a very wet 4 April 1998 with the 6R33 11:41 Longannet Power Station to Falkland Yard MGR empties. Within a few yards the train would be travelling onto the Forth Bridge.

56027 Radley 1 May 1990

56027 passes through Radley station on 1 May 1990 with the 6M58 18:00 Didcot Power Station to Bescot MGR empties. This location was ideal for a late summer evening's photography, and I am surprised that I didn't visit it more often. A huge radio mast was planted in the foreground of this view the following year, completely ruining the picture.

56027 Lower Birchwood 9 April 1992

56027 passes Lower Birchwood on 9 April 1992 with a loaded MGR, presumably destined for Ratcliffe Power Station. In those days a even a short visit to the lines around Alfreton was guaranteed to produce a procession of coal trains. This location has long since disappeared in a sea of vegetation, and it looks like power station coal traffic is also soon going to be a thing of the past!

56027 Clay Cross 9 April 1992

Clay Cross was a excellent location for railway photography in the 1990s, with a constant procession of freight trains from both directions. 56027 comes off the Erewash Valley line on 9 April 1992 with a rake of MGR empties.

56027 Port Clarence 22 April 2000

In the shadow of the unmistakable Tees Transporter Bridge, 56027 slowly traverses the Seal Sands branch at Port Clarence on 22 April 2000 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z38 06:39 Swindon to Seal Sands 'Cleveland Crusader' railtour. 37029 & 37038 can be seen on the rear of the train.

56027 Stockton 22 April 2000

56027 brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z39 15:30 Seal Sands to Swindon 'Cleveland Crusader' railtour at Stockton on 22 April 2000. The lead locomotives are 37029 & 37038. Prominent in the foreground is T.J. Thompson's scrapyard. In addition to the inevitable cars, there are no less than 18 locomotives (mostly Class 31s) awaiting their fate.

56027 Morton 12 March 2001

56027 passes Morton on 12 March 2001 with a loaded MGR for either Cottam or West Burton Power Station. This is the site of Rushey Sidings. Although the former signal box on the site used the plural name, there was in fact only one siding, which served a cattle dock.

56028 Portway 15 March 1989

56028 West Burton Power Station heads north at Portway on 15 March 1989 with MGR empties. The loco had been named the previous year at the eponymous power station, by CEGB director John Wooley. The loco lost its nameplates in early 1993, was withdrawn later that year, and cut up at Crewe in 1998.

56028 Barrow upon Trent 26 June 1991

A brief patch of welcome sunshine at Barrow upon Tent on 26 June 1991, as 56028 West Burton Power Station heads eastwards with a rake of MGR coal empties, heading for Toton. Only a handful of the Romanian built 56s received names during their career with BR, in this case at the eponymous power station on 10 September 1988.

56028 & 56009 Llandudno Junction 11 August 1991

56028 West Burton Power Station & 56009 make a smoky departure from Llandudno Junction on 11 August 1991 with the 1T56 13:25 Llandudno to Crewe special, one of series of trains hauled by freight traction during the Trainload Coal Motive Power Day.